It is presumed to be the most colourful, multinational and omnicultural of Berlin’s districts: Neukölln, whose reputation – up to the recent past – could be considered controversial at best. Predominantly low-income (German) residents alongside a high rate of immigrants touching the 40 per cent mark have been benefiting from affordable rents and trying to make ends meet remote from posh Berlin areas. Different beliefs; traditions; habits; tongues; skins or dress codes hailing from alien ethnic backgrounds not seldom ignited the precarious potential for social conflicts. Better-off Berliners and visitors to the city alike preferred to stay at a safe distance for a reason. Yet, by avoiding the confrontation with an often bleak reality, they simultaneously missed out on glamour of a quality only thriving in microcosms such as Neukölln.Reading time: about 3 minutes
„Hunger is one of the world’s most urgent development challenges. One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally“, says FAO, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Half of what is being wasted alone could feed the entire world. While the privileged drown in affluence, about one billion people are going hungry. Food waste simultaneously means squandering of land, energy, water and natural resources in general and renders the increased level of emission it creates even more paradox. Costs associated with the 88 million tonnes of food waste caused yearly within the EU is estimated at more than 143 billion euros. Food waste does represent a serious environmental and economic issue, but more than anything else it is an ethical one!
A group of young people in Berlin have made it their mission to contribute to reduction of food wasted thoughtlessly. In May, 2016 they opened Restlos Glücklich, Germany’s first restaurant predominantly utilising food surplus which might otherwise be destined for the bin. The team cooperates with providers who follow the same creed and who have become reliable partners of a number of charitable initiatives.Reading time: about 4 minutes
Tales of a building: Das Stue in Berlin
Upon setting foot into the hotel’s lobby area, guests are greeted by a gigantic crocodiles’ head sculpted by Parisian artist Quentin Garel. Walls around the premises hold fine examples of black-and-white vintage fashion photography collected by one of the hotel’s owners. Artwork and objects placed throughout public spaces vividly pay tribute to a prominent neighbour, the fabled Berlin zoo only a hop away: an enormous giraffe and two gorillas made of painted chicken wire are complemented by fellow animals ready to serve as poufs or practical footrests.
Who might have anticipated in the late 1930s, that the sophisticated edifice erected to house the Danish diplomatic mission in Berlin, would see it being converted into a stylish luxury hotel more than 70 years later? To transform a repeatedly abandoned building into the fashionable spot Das Stue was destined to be, it had to go through extensive refurbishment. It received a novel wing now attached to its former back courtyard and a completely new contemporary identity enhanced by a blend of old and new elements.
When Das Stue opened its gates in December of 2012, it already looked back on a changeful past.Reading time: about 4 minutes
The young boy holding on to the concrete steel bars that reinforced The Wall, was nine years old when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. The lady next to him became one of the innumerable so-called „Mauerspechte“, „wall peckers“, who secured themselves a morsel of the unholy structure to bring home a grisly souvenir. The „antifascist protective wall“, as the German Democratic Republic had chosen to name it, not only separated West from East Berlin and barbariously split the German nation, but symbolised the rift that divided the entire world in two political camps. Erected in August of 1961, The Wall finally came down after decade-long diplomatic efforts and a peaceful revolution during which not a single shot was fired. Hacked apart piece by piece by citizens and visitors flocking in from all over the globe, The Wall ceased to exist and with it the Cold War.Reading time: about 2 minutes
Undeniably, wielding of a dusty broom or a mucky pitchfork is readily associated with serious physical effort – yet, both chores could turn out to be oh! so rewarding emotionally! Perhaps activities such as these may not come to mind ad hoc when considering a trip to Germany’s trendy capital, Berlin. The modern full-time hedonist will usually opt for places of ample sophistication: clubs, theatres and cabarets, museums, the opera, boats, urban beaches or street parties, chic shopping malls, quirky cafés or fine dining restaurants and might even muster the patience to queue up for a visit to the parliamentary Reichstag … all of which are stops equally perfect for fringe programmes enhancing exhausting conference schedules!Reading time: about 3 minutes